Sally Willard

Sally Willard

Candidate for Town Meeting
Precinct 4
Burlington, MA


Rally for Sally

Town Meeting in Burlington

On August 14, 1970, Chapter 686 of the Acts of 1970 was signed into law. This act allowed for a Representative Town Meeting form of government in Burlington, which was subsequently approved by the voters of Burlington on March 6, 1971 by a vote of 4,307 in favor, 1557 opposed and 410 blanks. On March 4, 1972, the first members were elected. It was amended on 2011 at the May Town Meeting to add a seventh Precinct for the 2012 Election Year.

There are 126 Town Meeting Members, 18 from each of the seven precincts, elected for staggered 3-year terms. A quorum consists of 64 members. 

The foundation of every Town Meeting is the warrant. The warrant states the time and place of the meeting and the subjects to be acted upon. Every action taken at the meeting must be pursuant to some article in the warrant, and must be within the scope of the article.

Certain votes are not operative until 14 days after the dissolution of the meeting. If residents are not satisfied with a vote at Town Meeting, the 14 day delay provides an opportunity for them to gather signatures (5% of the registered voters) requiring that the warrant article / question be put to all the voters of the Town at an election. No vote of Town Meeting can be reversed unless at least 20% of the registered voters vote to reverse Town Meeting’s action. The number of votes to reverse Town Meeting’s action must also represent the majority of those voting.

Town Meeting has three regularly scheduled meetings each year; the second Monday of May (Annual), and the fourth Monday of September and January. The Town's annual budget is the primary focus of the May Town Meeting. Special Meetings may be held on the call of the moderator, or ten or more members, and upon written notices no less than seven days in advance delivered to the place of residence of each member and that of the moderator.

The Selectmen prepare and issue the warrant. The Selectmen, Town Meeting Members, Moderator, School Committee, and residents (upon the written request of ten registered voters of the Town) may suggest articles for insertion to the warrant. The warrant is finalized 45 days prior to the meeting date. The Warrant and any backup materials are mailed to Town Meeting Members so they will be received two weeks before the start of Town Meeting.